Daily Archives: 20 Sep 2010

The Recession is Over? Well You Can’t Tell it From Here, Washington

The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showin...

If yet more proof were needed that Washington is out of touch, a bunch of eggheads sitting in nice offices have decided that the recession ended in June of 2009.  Hahahahahahahaaha!  They’re so stupid!

It turns out the recession ended more than a year ago. Feeling better now? The panel that determines the timing of recessions concluded Monday that this one ended — technically, anyway — in June 2009, and lasted 18 months. The duration makes it the longest since World War II.

The panel that determines such things is comprised totally of people who have not a brain in their collective head. So who believed them? Why the geniuses over on Wall Street of course. The happy news of the recession’s end pushed the stock market up over 145 points… The blind are leading the blind and deaf and dumb and damned.

I can’t wait to get to the local food pantry this week and tell the people there waiting for help obtaining the basics of life that the recession ended back in 2009.  I bet they’ll be so relieved.  Whew…

Today at the Trial of Raphael Golb

The Associated Press reports

A New York lawyer denies he impersonated a Judaic studies professor and calls the allegation payback in a scholarly dispute over the Dead Sea Scrolls. Raphael Golb’s 2009 videotaped statement to authorities was played Monday at his Manhattan identity theft trial. … In the video, Raphael Golb denies sending the e-mails. He suggests Schiffman implicated him “out of maliciousness” toward his father.

Of course that’s nonsense and Golb’s lawyers have already admitted that he did it in order to attack Schiffman for his supposed plagiarism. So, Golb team, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that Golb did it to defend his father against supposed theft of ideas on the one hand and then on the other say he didn’t send fraudulent and misrepresenting emails.

When the trial is over and he’s found guilty, everyone will see the farce for what it was- an attempt to demean Schiffman and others in order to promote his father’s ideas.  If his father’s ideas had any merit, they would be accepted.   That they aren’t doesn’t give little Golb the right to lie.

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

I couldn’t believe it myself, when I saw the report of Chris Tilling’s latest deed!  He’s in London (where he lives, as you may know) and it seems that he’s been out, away from his professorial duties, protesting the Pope!  Why Chris, why?  What’s Benedict ever done to you?  (And he’s been taking spelling lessons from Joel Watts too!)

The Trial of Raphael Golb: How Did We Get Here?

It might be useful, with the trial of R. Golb heading into its second week, to remind those unfamiliar with the case how we got here. And the best way to do that is to go back to January and Bob Cargill’s summary of the evidence.

bombshell: ny da's response to raphael golb's motion to dismiss charges and suppress evidence court docs allege: norman golb knew about the smear campaign! court docs also allege: norman golb participated in t … Read More

via The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

1 Corinthians 13:12

The Talmud has an interesting contribution, I think, to our understanding of Paul’s little phrase ‘we see through a glass darkly’ when it remarks concerning Isaiah’s claim to have seen the Lord-

‘I saw the Lord’, [is to be understood] in accordance with what was taught: All the prophets looked into a dim glass, but Moses looked through a clear glass. (b. Yeb 49b).

If Rabbinic materials make use of the phrase ‘dim glass’ to describe the fact that none of the prophets really saw God as clearly as Moses did; and Paul uses the same phrase in reference to our own perceptions of God, then it stands to reason that Paul is following a tradition similar to the later Rabbis in which Moses alone saw God and everyone else only gets a dim vision through bad glass.

This has interesting implications for Paul’s supposed exalted Christology, no?

Ben Sira’s Advice is Still Worth Hearing

Do not try to understand things that are too difficult for you, or try to discover what is beyond your powers. Concentrate on what has been assigned you, you have no need to worry over mysteries. Do not meddle with matters that are beyond you; what you have been taught already exceeds the scope of the human mind. For many have been misled by their own notions, wicked presumption having warped their judgement. (Sir 3:21-24 NJB)

Those who concern themselves with the ‘how’ of creation should pay attention.

Identify the Gath Object

Aren’s posted a quiz, asking folk to identify an object found this summer at Gath. Post your guesses here. I’m guessing some sort of amulet. That, or a pile of camel dung.

More Pente-babble-inanity

Courtesy of Scott ‘The Canadian DSS Guy’ Bailey

Scott and I may not agree on the Sainted Zwingli- but we agree completely on the stupidity and theological illiteracy of these kinds of pente-babbleists. Such persons are Montanists, pure and simple. And Montanism is heresy. Which means that so much that passes for Pentecostalism is also heresy.

I’d Buy a Facebook Phone

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

But only so I could keep up with what the church kids and Mark Stevens were doing.  Not that I’d use it for anything else.  No way.


So, I really do hope Facebook does it, in spite of the naysayers at Wired.

We don’t know what Facebook is up to, or if the sources Techcrunch still has faith in are wrong or right or, if the latter, such a project is much more than a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. But would a Facebook phone make sense? I don’t think so. Facebook integration in Google Android phones is very deep, so much so that it is arguably better to use than gMail contacts. Ironies aside, this is exactly the sort of advantage one would presume building the delivery mechanism would get you, and they have an amenable platform to do pretty much whatever they want in software.

Facebook, make the phone. It will annoy Wired, and Huffington. So that’s reason enough. And make sure you pick AT&T to market it (since that’s my service provider).

The Signet Ring from North Israel

The Jerusalem Post is reporting

An ancient bronze signet ring excavated recently in Tel Dor, near Zichron Ya’acov, indicates that well-heeled elites were living in the area during the Hellenistic era, archaeologists from the University of Haifa reported on Sunday. The rare find at the major port bears an intricate impression of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, light, and music. According to Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, head of the university’s Department of Archeology, “A piece of highquality art such as this, doubtlessly created by a top-of-the-line artist, indicates that local elites developing a taste for fine art and the ability to afford it were also living in provincial towns, and not only in the capital cities of the Hellenistic kingdoms.”

The report contains further information which you’ll want to read.  With thanks to Stephen Smuts for mentioning it.  I agree with him, today must be archaeological discovery day!

The ‘Caffeine Made Me Do It’ Defense…

Just when you think you’ve heard every ridiculous excuse in the world (remember the fat guy who claimed he couldn’t have murdered his wife because he was too fat…), along comes an even more absurd one.

A Kentucky man accused of strangling his wife is poised to claim excessive caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills left him so mentally unstable he couldn’t have knowingly killed his wife, his lawyer has notified a court. Woody Will Smith, 33, is scheduled for trial starting Monday on a murder charge in the May 2009 death of Amanda Hornsby-Smith, 28. Defense attorney Shannon Sexton filed notice with the Newport court of plans to argue his client ingested so much caffeine in the days leading up to the killing that it rendered him temporarily insane — unable even to form the intent of committing a crime.

How doofy. If caffeine made you crazy, Mark Stevens, Joel Watts, me, Chris Tilling, and Ben Myers would all be over the edge and would have gone there years ago. Mr Smith needs to take responsibility and stop trying to blame Folgers and Red Bull.  The real reason Smith did it- he’s totally depraved.

First Century Jerusalem Ossuaries

7 of them, to be precise, have been discovered, as John Byron points out this morning.  The IAA report includes these remarks:

On the night of January 18, 2009, a rock-hewn burial cave was hastily documented in thwe Qiryat Shemuel neighborhood of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5621; map ref. 219543/630017), in the wake of its discovery during work that preceded construction in a building’s courtyard. The documentation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was carried out by Y. Baruch and D. Levy (surveying and photography), assisted by I. Berin (final plan).

And more interestingly

A two-line Hebrew inscription (length of inscription 0.37 m; Figs. 6, 7) was incised on the hard-limestone ossuary. The letters were clearly engraved, separated from each other and painted blue. The inscription reads: “Alexa bar Shalom barat Alexa/Cursed is the one who casts me from my place”. Careless engravings or traces of faded paint were noted on other ossuaries; these may also be inscriptions that require further research for decipherment. Some of the ossuary fragments were consolidated together with bone fragments in the corners of the chamber and it seems that these ossuaries had been shattered by grave robbers who damaged the cave; the robbers had apparently penetrated into the cave via the entrance, which was later blocked.

Here are photos of the tomb plan, and the inscribed ossuary.

A Newly Discovered Samaritan Temple at Beth-Shean

Main Street of Beth Shean


Xinhua reports

Israeli archaeologists reported Monday that they have uncovered a synagogue prayer hall and farmstead from the Late Byzantine Period in the town of Beit She’ an in the Jordan Valley. “The structures uncovered there were built at the end of the fifth century CE and they continued to exist until the eve of the Muslim conquest in 634 CE, when the Samaritans abandoned the complex,” according to Walid Atrash and Ya’aqov Harel with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who are directing the excavation. “The synagogue is a five by eight meter rectangular hall, which faces southwest, toward Mount Gerizim, which is sacred to Samaritans. The structure “served as a center of the spiritual, religious and social life in the area,” read an IAA statement. Segments of a colorful geometric-pattern mosaic on the floor have been uncovered as well, with a Greek inscription at the center reading: “this is the temple.” “In the Byzantine period (fourth century BC) Bet She’an became an important Samaritan center under the leadership of Baba Rabbah, at which time the Samaritans were granted national sovereignty and were free to decide their own destiny. This was the case until the end of the reign of Emperor Justinian, when the Samaritans revolted against the government. The rebellion was put down and the Samaritans ceased to exist as a nation,” according to the IAA. Archaeological teams also discovered a farmstead of more than 1, 500 square meters alongside the synagogue, including a central courtyard, residential quarters and a guest hall, industrial installations and storerooms. Two other Samaritan synagogues have been found at Bet She’an, as well, the statement said.

Thanks to Stephen Smuts for the link to these photos: